The Crusaders have confirmed that they are not interested in signing Ma'a Nonu for next year's Super Rugby season but they do want Robbie Fruean back.
Centre Fruean was given time off earlier this season as he has a heart condition which needed an operation.
Fruean has now had open-heart surgery to replace a valve and is recovering from the operation which was done earlier this month and he will be a "free-agent" after the Super Rugby season ends.
This is not the first time that Fruean has had heart surgery as he also had heart surgery in 2009 to repair a life-threatening inflammation of the heart known as pancarditis.
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder said the franchise was hoping to offer the 25-year-old a one-year deal for next year's Super Rugby season.
"At the moment he is off contract but we are going to do everything we can to look after Robbie," Blackadder said.
"We want to get him back into the mix, there is no doubt about that.
"Everyone is going to do their best to support him and to do the right thing."
The Crusaders already know that they will not have utility back Tom Marshall as he has agreed to play for the Chiefs next year and Blackadder says that they will not be making an approach to Nonu.
"No, we won't be doing that," Blackadder told Fairfax.
That means that the Crusaders are happy to stick Fruean and his incumbent midfielders Ryan Crotty and Tom Taylor.
The Highlanders offered Nonu a contract for next season but he has not signed it yet and the Chiefs and Blues have already said that they are not interested.
That leaves the Hurricanes as Nonu's only option outside the Highlanders if he wants to continue playing for the All Blacks.
Nonu has made it clear he would prefer to return to his home town of Wellington and play for the Hurricanes.
In 2011 however Nonu was told by current coach Mark Hammett that he would not be needed in 2012 so he signed for the Blues that season.